Red Table Meat Co. – The Minnesota Marriage of Flavor and Respect.
There was a time in all-too-recent history when beige, watery, and flavorless bologna was considered an acceptable cold cut. The foreign flavors of capicola, pancetta, and prosciutto were reserved for those who travelled abroad, had Western European ties, or lived in the real parts of New York. Ignorance wasn’t even close to bliss, yet many of us continued to solely pursue heightened dinner fare rather than the perfection of deli meats. Little did we know that many a Midwestern palate would be unknowingly saved by a brilliant farm boy from Iowa.
Mike Phillips has been studying the craft of salumi — the general term for Italian dry or cured pork — for decades. He credits his unparalleled curing knowledge to the time spent under mentor and internationally renowned salumiere Francois Vecchio, the ‘Poete of Pork.’ Mike — James Beard Award nominee and an all-around amazing individual — spearheads the Red Table Meat Company and is championed by Kieran Folliard of 2 Gingers Irish Whiskey.
Salumi and its French cousin, charcuterie, require a refined palate and dutiful marriage to the lengthy creation process. Aging the meat upwards of eight months while diligently maintaining the proper humidity and temperature is no easy feat. Modern machines can’t come close to mimicking this artisanal human technique. Only the most committed and well-educated salumiere crews get the flavor right and execute this old-world art with skill and aplomb.